2016 Helen Sheehan Book Prize

Submission Period: May 1st to June 30th.

What: unpublished YA manuscripts, only one per author.

Prize: $1000 and ERB Book Contract

Length: Minimum of 50,000 words.

Submission fee: There is a $20 submission fee.

How to submit: Send submissions to our Submittable account. Please submit a cover letter, the first fifty pages (50) of your manuscript and a one-page synopsis of your manuscript.

What we’re after: quality stories with heart, guts, and a clear voice. We’re especially interested in the quirky and the hopeful and the real. We are not particularly interested in genre fiction and prefer stand-alone novels, unless you’ve got the next Hunger Games. We seek writers who believe in the transformative power of a great story, so show us what you’ve got.

The winning manuscript will join Printz Honor Winner, The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley as ERB’s second YA title.

Our editorial team will carefully review all submissions. A trio of judges will pick the prize-winning book. As with Carnival, editors will work closely with the winner to sharpen the manuscript, and design a wicked cover. And then we’ll throw all we can muster behind the winning author and book. Jessie’s success goes to show that an indie press can compete with the big boys. Aunt Helen would be proud to see Jessie represent the Sheehan Book Prize. You could be next.

Good luck revising your manuscript for submission. We're eager to read your novel.

Book Prize Judges

Kelly Jensen


Kelly Jensen is a former teen/youth services librarian turned associate editor and community manager for Book Riot. She blogs about young adult fiction, reading, and serving teens at She’s the author of It Happens: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader from VOYA Press.

Anne Rouyer


Anne Rouyer is currently a supervising young adult librarian at the Mulberry Street Branch of The New York Public Library. She has served on the 2012 Morris YA Award committee, and is currently the co-chair for the NYPL's Best Books for Teens 2015 booklist committee.

Meghan Dietsche Goel


Meghan Dietsche Goel is the children's and young adult book buyer at BookPeople in Austin, TX. She serves as the program director for the Texas Teen Book Festival.